Life Scribbles: When Social Good Turns Sour
The buzz around “social good” is most definitely growing these days.
For those who may be unfamiliar with this term, “social good” is (becoming) a common reference for any endeavor or activity that seeks to create and provide “good” for society. It can come in all forms including corporate social responsibility, not-for-profit work, social business & entrepreneurship, campaigns, etc.
Many are launching these new social endeavors in hopes of creating meaningful products and services to better our world. I’m deeply encouraged and inspired by some of these new world changers! I think that the overall awareness of social good is radically shifting the way that many are choosing to live their lives.
Nevertheless, like any other good thing worth developing, it’s important that we don’t forget why we started these endeavors in the first place. Here’s why I say this…
I’ve noticed lately that there are some organizations and companies that have drifted away from their initial intention, vision, and posture with which they began. In my opinion, this shift has very little to do with organizational size or growth. Rather, it’s the result of a subconscious derailing of foundational values and ethos in the midst of life’s busyness.
For one reason or another, these are great people that have lost sight of the good and have unknowingly begun to produce sour results. May the following list of common traits I’ve observed in these groups “turning sour” act as a friendly reminder for us to stop and reflect on what it is that we’re actually producing:
- A Diminishing Openness Towards Input
- These groups are becoming more closed in the way they develop ideas and interact with outsiders. Some of this is rooted in fear while some of it is blatant arrogance. There is no need to engage outsiders since they lack the knowledge and skill-set to improve what’s being developed internally.
- Collaboration as Talk & Not Action
- Collaboration is talked about, but rarely lived out. The conversation that once was is now a monologue by those who hold the most power within the group. Feedback is non-essential and new ideas are received with skepticism unless they are initiated by executive team.
- A Lack of Visible Enjoyment
- Where’s the joy? Yes, it’s become all work and no play. Unfortunately, play is an essential piece for facilitating creativity. Look around…Are people smiling? 🙂
- “Compassionately” Mean
- In these groups, people that are being served have become a big burden. Compassion has become highly selective and infrequent. Projects have taken precedence over people. These groups tend to lean towards sternness as the primary expression of “love”. Love is honest and confrontational all the time, right? (yes, sarcasm here.)
- “Me! Me! Me!”
- You can tell a lot about a person, organization, or company by who they talk about most. Don’t you love being in conversation with people that spend the majority of time talking about themselves? (yup, sarcasm here as well.) Organizations and companies that only promote themselves are red flags for me. Healthy groups know how to celebrate the work of others and build a mutually beneficial relationship.
I know that none of us are guilty of any of these traits (*wink). But just in case… would you take a moment to detox and ask yourself if you’re heart is still in the right place? I know I need to do this on a regular basis.